Bluejay grapplers crush 16 other teams by a century
The state’s second-ranked Bluejay grapplers used a wall of strength in the upper weights to pull down their 2nd consecutive Papermaker Invite title in Kimberly on Saturday by nearly 100 points.
Merrill captured five of the 14 weight classes, and added balance throughout, with all 14 wrestlers placing in the top six, including nine in the top three and 11 in the top four.
“It was a 17-team tournament and we came out on top, so it obviously was a good weekend for Merrill wrestling,” MHS coach Scott Arneson said. “We put seven in the finals – that’s half the weight classes – and came out with five champs. This early in the season, it’s nice to have kids wrestle at that level.
“This shows our team balance, and we actually had (state runner-up) David Pophal out of the line-up. All the kids got some hard-fought matches. When you get 17 teams together, there’s bound to be good matches.”
Merrill wrapped up titles with Scott T. Arneson (132), Mason Reinhardt (170), Ben Hintze (182), Tyler Schmidt (220) and Gabe Nelles (285), while Nathan Beyer (126) and Jagger Scholz (145) earned runner-up spots.
Arneson pinned all four of his foes, while Reinhardt had three pins and a tech fall. Hintze, Schmidt and Nelles each stuck three foes. Beyer pinned two and added a tech fall.
Defending undefeated state champ Schmidt was the co-winner of the Jason Wolf Character Award.
“That was a kid that got killed in a car accident,” Arneson explained. “He was just a great kid. Tyler was recognized as a level-headed kid who handles himself well on the mat. It’s good for us and good for Tyler. The majority of our kids fit that mold. We have a bunch of nice kids out.”
Aiden Ball (106) and Alex Klug (195) both lost in the semis but responded with a win to finish third. Don Ogden (113) and Tanner Pettit (152) ended up fourth, while Devon Schultz (120) and Cody Nicholson (138) ranked fifth. Dalton Clayton (160) placed sixth.
Schultz and Clayton each pinned three opponents.
“It looked like we were in pretty good shape for this point of the season,” Arneson said. “I was also happy that stuff we’re showing in practice is showing up on the mat (in competition).”
Team standings– Merrill 565.5, Sun Prairie 467.5, Kimberly 396.5, Oshkosh North 378, River Valley 343, Greendale 284, Princeton 251.5, Wrightstown 237, Grafton 199, Freedom 173.5, Kewaunee 162.5, St. Lawrence Seminary 160, Berlin 152.5, Manitowoc Lutheran/Roncalli 151.5, Dodgeland Juneau 143.5, Sturgeon Bay 128, Fox Valley Lutheran 118.5.
Toppling the Lumberjacks
The Bluejays opened the season at Wausau East on Thursday, but it wasn’t much of a match.
They built a 75-4 triumph with help from eight forfeits, to Schmidt, Nelles, Ball, Ogden, Beyer, Scholz, Pettit and Devon Rink (170).
Arneson pulled a pin in 3:08, Nicholson won by 16-0 tech fall, Clayton pulled an 11-3 major, Reinhardt pinned in 4:38 at 182 and Klug turned a fall in 1:54.